Two NGOs, the “Forum pour la Mémoire Vigilante, FMV” in collaboration with “Burundi Mémoires Communes Avenir Commun, BMCAC” is distributing feminine sanitary pads to nearly one hundred Burundian refugee women and girls, living in the districts of Muhanga and Kamonyi, in the southern province of Rwanda.
According to these NGOs, mainly made up of Burundians living in Rwanda and Europe, this project was funded to the tune of 500,000 Rwf (around 500 USD).
“This is a somewhat forgotten area but which deserves a special attention. Sanitary pads are used monthly. And, imagine how much it costs a destitute refugee, it is really huge. This is why we wanted to awaken the conscience of everyone to think about helping our mothers and sisters on this side”, explain the donors. The pads given must cover six months, from January to June 2021.
“The distribution started on January 13, 14 and 15 January, 2021 in Muhanga and will continue in Kamonyi. We joined them in celebrating the New Year with more hygiene. It is an activity which will be extended to other districts if means allow it. It is really urgent at this time of the Covid-19 pandemic which weighs heavily on vulnerable refugees”, they said. On the beneficiaries’ side, it is a total satisfaction.
“We take this opportunity to thank the donors. These people really know our weak side. It is very difficult if not embarrassing to go and ask for this equipment if you don’t have it at home, because sanitary pads are a matter of privacy. It is not like corn flour that you can get on credit from a shop. At least for six months we will breathe. And then they are of good quality,” said one of them in Muhanga.
They want this kind of donation to be lasting for.
“we are in the middle between Kigali and Huye, two UNHCR regional centres. Even if these pads are distributed by the UNHCR, we need transport to get to Huye or Kigali, which is difficult for us at this time of the Covid-19 pandemic”, they added.
In Muhanga, the activity was attended by the chairman of the refugee committee. Etienne Nibaruta thanked FMV for its crucial advocacy and BMCAC for its spontaneity in supporting Burundian refugees.
“It is also a way to fight against unwanted pregnancies because young girls may lack these sanitary napkins and want to get into debauchery to get them,” he said.
He asked all benefactors and the diaspora to support destitute Burundian refugees and victims of the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic because all their small businesses have almost gone bankrupt.
Rwanda has more than 10,000 urban refugees of which more than 800 live in the Southern Province.